Despite efforts to fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Rwanda, it has been noted that the public still misinterprets the campaigns with most thinking that they are aimed at protecting only women and children, and not men.
This has contributed to the increasing cases of violence against men, according to the Chief Gender Monitor, Oda Gasinzigwa.
“In the past years, very many women and children were victims of GBV, compared to men; which is why most of our campaigns targeted them. But it should not imply that men are ignored in this move, like some people have perceived it,” Gasinzigwa noted.
She made the observations in an interview with The New Times, reacting to recent police statistics which indicate an increase in the number of men assaulted by their spouses.
The reports disclosed that the number of wives killed by their husbands in 2010 was 34, which however declined to 14 in 2011. Nevertheless, the number of men killed by their wives was static, registering eight cases in both years.
Gasinzigwa also explained that violence against men had escalated in the past because they were reluctant to report to the Police because of superiority complex.
“But men have now started responding, and it is our hope that violence against them will decrease. For instance, the mere fact that we have their (victimised men’s) statistics shows they seek legal assistance when victimised.”
Gasinzigwa as noted that they were planning to conduct a special study down to family level, to establish the cause of fatal disagreements that end in death of spouses.
The New Times also sought views of some members of the public about the escalating cases of violence against men.
Jado Kitoko, a mechanic at ETO Muhima Garage said; “Women use the women empowerment tool to do whatever they want and even get protection when we report them to local authorities. Leaders have to do more sensitisation because women are becoming unruly.”
Natasha Mitali, an employee of Private Sector Federation (PSF) called upon men to overcome the superiority complex and report cases of abuse against them.
“Their silence has always caused these cases to escalate, leading to death at times,” she observed.